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Infinite Jest Audiobook

Infinite Jest

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Audible Editor Reviews

"Pratt is a startlingly good narrator, dry and expressive, with the kind of vocal control that evokes dozens of characters with only slight but very distinctive variations of accent and affect.... Pratt hears the humor in Wallace's work, and lets you in on the joke without resorting to overheated wackiness. His control and stamina are impressive." (John Schwartz, The New York Times Book Review)

Publisher's Summary

A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are.

Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.

Please note: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material, including endnotes, will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

A Note from Hachette Audio
We are deeply honored to be the audio publisher of David Foster Wallace's works, and are keenly aware of the great responsibility that attends the privilege. We felt that it was important to make Infinite Jest accessible in the audio format as soon as we were able, and are gratified to find that there is an audience that has been waiting for just this occasion.

Some early listeners have been disappointed that the novel's endnotes are currently available only in text form, to be read. Choosing to include the endnotes as a downloadable PDF file, rather than as a recording by the narrator, was a difficult decision for all involved, and we debated different options at length before beginning production. The audio format allows us great opportunities to showcase Wallace's love of language and grammatical dexterity, to illuminate characters and their relationships, and to bring out some of the unique humor inherent in his work. However, there are also certain limitations to the format, and we needed let go of some of our preconceived notions about the form of Infinite Jest, as we must when we adapt any complex work to audio.

The compromise we ended up with was heavily influenced by practical concerns, especially those regarding the limitations of current technology. Because some of the endnotes are pages-long digressions, if we had them read in line with the main narrative, we would have run the risk of making the already complex story unfollowable for listeners. In the end, we decided the audiobook would flow best by having the endnotes indicated by number throughout the narrative by an additional narrator. However, we acknowledge that these choices may not work for all listeners. Accordingly, our future plans are to produce the endnotes as an additional, stand-alone audio piece.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2006 David Foster Wallace (P)2012 Hachette

What the Critics Say

“[A]n exhilarating, breathtaking experience. This book teems with so much life and death, so much hilarity and pain, so much gusto in the face of despair that one cheers for the future of our literature.” (Newsday)

"[A] postmodern saga of damnation and salvation…resourceful, hilarious, intelligent, and unique.” (The Atlantic Monthly)

"[C]ompulsively entertaining… one of the big talents of his generation, a writer of virtuosic skills who can seemingly do anything.” (New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1512 )
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  •  
    RF 09-15-15
    RF 09-15-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sure?"
    Any additional comments?

    Have you heard of Yngwie Malmsteen? If you haven't, let me tell you a little about him. He's a guitar player from Sweden who's been around since the 1980's, and is regarded by many people as one of the best guitar players alive. There have been times when I watched his videos on Youtube and have considered chopping off one of my hands because of how he reminds me that I will never be as good as him. But what keeps Yngwie from the ears of the average listener, and my hands away from the butcher's block, is that all his songs sound kind of... boring. Sure, he can play fast, and he's got cool hair, but his song writing skills are a little lacking. There are no hooks, no interesting melodies, or groovy beats. Just ridiculous arpeggios played at face melting speeds.

    David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest is kind of like that. Just like Yngwie, Wallace had an understanding of his craft that was incredible. Like Yngwie's lightning-fast fingers, Wallace had a command over the English language that I'll NEVER have. The technical know-how of these two men over their respective crafts is mind-blowing.

    However, just like Yngwie's song writing ability, I found David Foster Wallace's story telling ability to be lacking. When it comes to music most people would rather listen to Bob Dylan, who is, for the most part, a shit guitar player, but his songs are amazing! Similarly, I'd rather listen/read to someone like Stephen King, who's technical writing ability is fine, but his ability to tell a story far exceeds that of David Foster Wallace (IMO, of course).

    I don't know. Listen to it if you've got a lot of time. Maybe it's better in written form.

    34 of 46 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole L. 04-19-12
    Nicole L. 04-19-12
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    "Omission of end notes gives me the howling fantods"

    I do not understand why Hachette Audio would undertake the monumental task of producing Infinite Jest as an audiobook and choose to omit the end notes. I have been looking forward to this audio release for some time and I am greatly disappointed by this decision. Infinite Jest is an important book and a LONG one and anyone interested in investing 56 hours in it, I can assure you, is interested in the end notes. I enjoy Sean Pratt as a narrator. I appreciate the work that went into recording this book, and I truly hope Hachette considers an updated release WITH END NOTES.

    39 of 53 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kirill helsinki, Finland 04-14-12
    kirill helsinki, Finland 04-14-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Could you make footnotes available in audioformat?"
    Would you try another book from David Foster Wallace and/or Sean Pratt?

    Yes.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Sean Pratt’s performances?

    Yes.


    What character would you cut from Infinite Jest?

    I would not cut anything.


    Any additional comments?

    It is really awesome that you have made a audiobook of Infinite Jest. But leaving out the endnotes is a really bad choice as it makes this audiobook hard to listen. I can not stop and read a pdf file in a middle of a bike ride or car trip. You decision makes this audiobook unusable!

    43 of 63 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle ERIE, CO, United States 12-31-16
    Michelle ERIE, CO, United States 12-31-16 Member Since 2012
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    "Maybe the most disappointing book ever **"

    But you probably need to read it anyway. This is some fascinating and original writing, a very clever twixt of characters, and a finely-crafted world of the near future that the reader can really invest in and sink into. IJ is a very beautiful mix of comedy, drama and irony that one can easily become emotionally attached to. I really loved the book and its mostly cynical and unwitting characters, all portrayed well by Sean Pratt. I loved it right up until the end. Which itself is beautiful, but... My impression is that Wallace threw up is arms and said to the reader "This is complicated and I'm tired of being clever. I don't know - you figure it out.", then wrote the words "The End" and smoked a fatty. Without a spoiler, all I can say is I was gravely disappointed and would demand a sequel if that were possible. Worth reading for all its originality. **Disclaimer: the audio book doesn't include the hundreds of footnotes. While I referred to my hard copy for about a third of them, I have not gone back to see if all my concerns are allayed in the footnotes. I doubt it, but I'll come back here and publicly bite my tongue if that's the case.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zachary D. 12-16-16
    Zachary D. 12-16-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "infinite shit"

    This was one of the worst books I've read in quite some time. It somehow manages to be banal, pseudo-intellectual, naval gazing, pretentious, heavy handed, perverted, of horrific syntax and stultifying boring at the same time.

    Besides trying to ape intellectual profundity, about three quarters of this book is devoted entirely to the topics of masturbation and defecation. This book's main appeal seems to consist in it being a conspicuously long book that you can whip out at Starbucks and claim that you're an intellectual, while you can relate to the banal topics of drug use and farting.

    I feel ashamed for academia that this book has received so much critical acclaim.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martin Whitman Overland Park, KS, United States 12-07-16
    Martin Whitman Overland Park, KS, United States 12-07-16
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    "Excellent Narration"

    Wallace was, above all else, simply a great writer. This is what jumped out at me when I first started reading him. Despite all the negative and positive hype, it is his writing skill and artistry that makes him amazing.

    On one side are the "the book is too long" whiners, or the motive-assigning "pretentious" label givers. On the other are the obsessives who are worse than Trekies learning Klingon. But the writing is just awesome. That's it.

    BTW, the footnotes are including in PDF form. Just leave it open on your device and pause/unpause the recording. Monkeys could do it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Siobhan Ricci 09-12-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Dave Wallace Rulez"

    I love Dave Wallace he rocks my socks rest in peace Dave foster Wallace RiP

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Citizen 08-20-16
    Citizen 08-20-16 Member Since 2015
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    "One of my favorite audiobooks"

    The narrator, Sean Pratt, is excellent for this story. Even though the sentences can get very long and meandering, he speaks with such a casual rhythm that it becomes very easy to understand. The voices and dialects are also very believable and consistent. Besides the performance, this book is fantastic in its own right. Everyone should read it or listen to it at least once. Since its such a long book, I think listening is the best option along with reading the endnotes separately (since its not included in audio).

    The book is thought provoking, and uncomfortable at times. It confronts the gruesome reality of the pursuit of pleasure and happiness and success as being all of one nature, a possibly obsessive drive.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig 07-29-16
    Craig 07-29-16
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    "WOW. WOW. WOW! Amazing storytelling & performance."

    Lived up to high expectations. I legitimately laughed out loud every time I listened and COULD NOT put it down once started so I would find time whenever I was anywhere to read on.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    case wills 07-25-16
    case wills 07-25-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Brilliant Gut Punch"

    Incredible writing, and storytelling, with deeply realized characters spiraling up or down in tragicomic beauty. A masterwork, but tough going. Feels like a gut punch at times. Never boring but not for everyone. Tests your vocabulary, your stomach, and your heart.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • pedersen.nyegaard@wanadoo.dk
    Århus, Denmark
    12/7/12
    Overall
    "Almost perfect"

    A treat. Brilliant reading of the most earth-shaking English prose in the last 30 (or more) years. David Foster Wallace is incomparable, and Sean Pratt's reading is dynamic and flexible - the only flaw being the end-notes which are not read, but which you have to read yourself (you receive a PDF-file when buying the audiobook). And yes, it's long, but it's well worth the time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • clive
    chesterfield, United Kingdom
    1/23/13
    Overall
    "Spectacular - don't be daunted"

    This is what audiobooks are for - listening to great, daunting seeming books you'd never read. This book is spectacular. You can't expect to have the loose ends tied up, or to know what's going on half the time, but you can expect to be gripped and thoroughly entertained and to fall into a different world. Definitely worth listening to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Alison
    SELBY, United Kingdom
    4/14/13
    Overall
    "A Real Epic!"

    Downloaded this to listen to while I exercise and it's a real page-turner, so to speak! Definitely worth using a credit for, give it a go!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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